Editor's note: Finally got the post box open today, and I must be on some kind of mailing list...
Dear lifemates, bondmates, minions, bloodsires, flock members and assorted other blood relations (including the one who's madder than a box of frogs - maybe he can print this out and use it as a seasonal fly-swat).
Please insert your preferred "creature of the stygian night" greeting here. The one that indicates a familial relationship ("Brother" is always good) and is the verbal equivalent of a manly nod and heartily slapped arm-clasp between two rough-hewn warriors standing on a windy peak. Anyone who's broken through their "taciturn warrior" shell may add something poetically in touch with nature in your aunciente (made-up) fadres langwache. I'd avoid anything that refers to winds and the avoidance or encouragement thereof. Not after all those sprouts.
In the jolly round of activities that leads up to the festive season, I've been delegated the task of writing and sending the apparently traditional Christmas letter to update all of you with our news. I'm thrilled.
I'm also supposed to sort out the seating plan, which is a nightmare of tedium. Everyone wants their own special introduction and I can hardly keep track of all the new ones, as well as who hates whom and who is just pretending to do so for dramatic effect. I'm going to need a spreadsheet at this rate. But anything to avoid another Christmas dinner like the one two years ago when four big misunderstandings in a row were resolved before the pudding course. Or last year's debacle, when Phwar had one too many cream sherries and "accidentally" spake the mystic words of binding to the turkey. Well, it was a big one. Luckily, the giblets had been removed, but I felt like an idiot, leaping up with the others to defend it to our deaths from the carving knife. Stupid git.
You'll be delighted to know that the dread curse has been lifted from Gouesnou's (I never know how to say that - he says it's ancient Breton - I reckon he got it out of an atlas) lot who were all slowly losing the ability to taste anything but swede. The vegetable, I mean. Oh, the unbearable agony of their existence: seemingly forever forced to roam the night, desperately trying to cling to the remants of taste. Saying things like, "It's really more of a sprouty flavour, I'm sure," when we all knew they were deluding themselves. And then, the miracle: a coach-load of nubile female pastry chefs crashed in the hedges at the bottom of the drive to their secret lair and the guys were able to rescue the bonny bakers from some rapacious zombies who were hunting them for their recipe for banana cream pie. A few rounds of that, and they were all cured.
Although being married to a dessert specialist isn't really helping Ludovico in the low-waisted, skin-tight leather trouser department. The words muffin top would never pass my lips in his presence, since he'd probably weep poetically now that he's in touch with his soul-deep emotions, but he has started wearing his shirts untucked and they're noticeably more um… tunic-like than before.
Speaking of girlfriends, Jean-Marie (the one who never seems to button his stupid ruffled shirt - he should take a leaf out of Ludo's book) has changed his name by deed poll again. Sworn us all to secrecy, so I can't tell you the new one, but knowing J-M, it won't be hard to guess. He's only got up to "Leçon deux: Héééé, sexy! Mate ce sabre, ma jolie bichette!" in En Garde! - Manly French for the Musketeer en Vous. He's hoping the new alias will help him to hide from that bushy-haired crackpot who's been stalking him for the last few years. Poor bastard's a shadow of his former self, frankly. And his dry-cleaning bill is bloody enormous.
Gaston, sorry, Prohkryyatohr (yeah, really) is another one who's embarked on a self-improvement project this year. He's been male-bonding with Loin (aka Rhobustt) and Thew (now Tyunah - methinks someone had a thesaurus malfunction) over their mutual unspeakable burdens of hangnails and foot fungus. They've all been on a quest for a decent podiatrist to relieve them of their eternal torment, but can't work out Yellow Pages' new organisational system. In the meantime, to dull the unbearable anguish of their existence they've been experimenting with men's cologne. We finally had to confine their experiments to a bathroom with a separate ventilation system because their combined scent was overwhelming the mighty power of Stahlyun's antihistimine.
Most seriously, Djokkstrahpp's evil twin, Ahthletyk Suhppowtah, penetrated our secret palatial stronghold and installed a fiendish solo display of conceptual art on the second-floor landing. The evil genius had taped off the lift with a big "Danger - Do Not Use" sign, and what with the steel caps, studs and 6-inch soles on his boots, D-man couldn't lift his feet up the steps. He howled and raged like a wild beast at the bottom of the staircase, but to no avail. It was enough to make a strong man weep like an overheated hippo.
Then D realised that an unknown yet beautiful landscape gardener who had broken in to study his soil morphology and composting techniques had tripped over the artiste using a party balloon to represent a male hooded seal's nasal display. The imminence of this threat compelled D to unlock the hitherto secret power of his roaming function and he managed to phone the lift maintenance company and a cleaning service just in the nick of time. The noxious Ahthletyk Suhppowtah managed to give him the slip, but Djokk'll get him. Someday... Maybe in the New Year when the dramatic tension finally plays out and the gardener inevitably yields to the seductive power of his nutrient-rich silty clay loam. So have a happy one, y'all.